Are Communication Skills Acquired By Nature Or Can They Be Developed?

3 Useful Thoughts on How to Understand the Importance of Client Engagement

Advisers are well aware of the importance of acquiring and using people skills in order to succeed as financial professionals. They know they need to be able to understand different personality types, have sound listening skills, and know how to frame and ask the right questions in order to build trust and draw out from clients the information needed to enable the adviser to provide quality targeted advice to their clients.

Often advisers are encouraged to attend training courses or workshops to improve their communication skills.

The Beddoes Institute writes in The Trusted Adviser: Honouring the client at every turn:

Technical skills are a basic expectation that clients have of their financial adviser. These skills are typically
easy to observe, quantify and measure and are the primary target of most training organizations. In contrast,
interpersonal skills are needed just as much in an advice relationship. These have to do with how people relate
to each other and are about communicating, listening, understanding needs, empathy and showing care. While
it is harder to train interpersonal skills (as the behavior patterns of adults are already thoroughly ingrained),
interpersonal skills can still be effectively learned. Furthermore, while some advisers are naturally gifted with
good interpersonal skills and high levels of emotional intelligence, even the most trusted advisers have,
at times, had to work hard to acquire new skills in this area that have not come naturally.

The key finding from this analysis is that Advisers are almost universally recognized by clients for their
outstanding interpersonal skills (mentioned by 82% of clients). These skills extend to advisers communication,
ability to listen and understanding needs, and ability to show empathy and genuinely care about the client,
all of which are underpinned by high emotional intelligence.

An interesting article and well worth reading, but perhaps a more effective starting point for advisers to be able to develop good interpersonal skills is to begin by understanding their own inherent communication and behavioral style.

Learning to become self behaviorally aware helps you:

  1. Understand and empathize with what is really being communicated to you by clients about their financial goals
  2. Understand yourself, including how you would personally respond to the questions you are asking your clients
  3. Stay focused to understand and empathize with clients even if you dont fully connect with them or what they are saying which leads to building strong, trusting, and rewarding relationships both in your business and personal life

Are Communication Skills Acquired By Nature Or Can They Be Developed? Both ? the key is to understand and develop the inherent behavioral communication skills you have.



Carol Pocklington is a Human Behavior Solutions Analyst at DNA Behavior, assisting with the research and development of behavioral products. DNA Behavior helps grow behaviorally smart businesses and financial advisors worldwide to increase competitive advantage using the most reliable behavioral discovery and performance development systems on cutting-edge technology platforms. Solutions are delivered in the areas of client experience management, financial personality management and human capital management.

Visit the Financial DNA website to learn more about communication and behavioral styles.

Carol Pocklington

Carol Pocklington - Human Behavior Solutions Analyst

Carol is a member of our research and development team assisting in the development of our behavioral products.
She has worked with Hugh Massie since 2001 since the Financial DNA understanding concept was conceived.


Carol's DNA Natural Behavior Style is - Facilitator


Carol is a Facilitator. Facilitators are persistent, goal-oriented people who promote team effort in order to complete tasks. Facilitators lead by setting examples and by achieving goals. Their strong work ethic encourages others to excel and they have an excellent ability to deal calmly yet firmly with people using a facilitative style.

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